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Tour de France

Tour de France: Christophe Laporte final kilometer attack was not ‘part of the plan’ but racer’s instinct

The Frenchman jumped out of the bunch in the final kilometer to steal an impressive solo win.

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Christophe Laporte’s late break for victory on stage 19 of the Tour de France wasn’t part of the plan, according to Jumbo-Visma sport director Merijn Zeeman.

Laporte bridged across to the back of a late breakaway just as it looked as though it was going to be reeled back for the predicted bunch sprint.

After making the jump, the Frenchman glanced around at the peloton to see if there was any response. When he sensed that there was no immediate reaction, he paused for a moment to catch his breath before striking out again to drop the breakaway riders and take the victory.

Also read: Christophe Laporte claims a late break victory

He said afterward that he had been told by his teammates that he could go for the win on the lumpy stage to Cahors, but the team management didn’t expect him to do it like he did.

“It’s very nice. I’m very happy for Christophe and I’m very happy for the French. It was a super special win. It was an exciting final,” Zeeman said at the finish. “[Today] was just about protecting Jonas [Vingegaard], of course, we knew the parcours very well and that it was tricky with narrow parts and we wanted to hit the front there but you saw that the sprinters’ teams had to work really hard already, also in the last days, and there was a lack of control.

“The breakaway almost made it, but Christophe obviously had very good legs, he used the opportunity and he followed his instinct. This was not the plan, this was a rider who followed his instinct and he got a great reward.”

Laporte’s win is the fifth for the Jumbo-Visma team during this year’s Tour de France, as well as being the first for a French rider. Wout van Aert won two stages during the second week of the race while Jonas Vingegaard took wins on the Col du Granon and the Hautacam, adding more than a minute to his lead in the overall classification with the latter.

Laporte spent much of the race working as a domestique for Vingegaard and also played a big role in helping Van Aert to his stage victories.